I’ve pledged this year not to be such a slacker about organizing the garden. I know I’m still figuring things out and winter was terrible the last two years, but I could save so much money by starting my own seeds. And it’s time to get cracking on this, even though there’s still three feet of snow out there!
I’ve been raiding Pinterest to find some collective wisdom that I can apply to my tiny urban garden this year and I’ve found some great sites with great ideas. Please click through to find these people’s resources, and please pin the images from their websites if you’re only saving specific plans.
A Seed-Starting and Planting Calendar
I always chicken-scratch my way through planting seeds at the right time, and that chicken scratch does not involve any info whatsoever on when to start seeds. This smart little Excel spreadsheet from Better Hens and Gardens.com will help tons. It’s easy to modify based on your last frost dates, so it’s perfect no matter what zone you live in!
A DIY Vertical Seed Starting Area
OK, this one probably won’t be done this year, but the number one reason I haven’t been able to really consider much seed-starting is that I lack natural light in this house. I do have plenty of room in my kitchen for something the size of a bookcase, though, and setting up a couple of shelves with some grow lights, like this project from Garden Therapy.ca, is a really good idea.
In fact, I could see using something like this year round to ensure that I’ve got things like fresh green onions and herbs in the winter time, too. Maybe I will try to get it done this year.
Simple Seed Tapes for Straight-sowing
Some of the little seeds are incredibly difficult to sow efficiently at the right distance, and I always feel incredible guilt about wasting resources when I have to thin heavily, but The Veggie Gardener shows you how to get your distances right, waste fewer seeds, and avoid the costly expense of seed-tapes with a DIY seed tape.
DIY Seed Starting Containers
Those little seed-starting pucks are costly. I looked at hundreds of pins about using egg crates, eggs, tubes, and newspaper. Some are great in some situations and not others, especially when you’re like me and have to worry about what you might put in a soil-less self-watering planter like the one I built. Some just suck all around. Garden Therapy has a list of pros and cons for all of them so you can decide which one works for you.
Soil Mixes for Seed Starting
I use a sterile mix for my planter because if it’s too heavy, it will be unable to wick water upwards from the reservoir. I made the mix the first year, and the second year, when I filled the planter up, I bought a couple of bales of Pro Mix premade. The nice thing about the Pro Mix is that it’s often used for seed starting, too. However, most people don’t need anywhere near the quantity that you have to buy it in (3.8 Cu. FT) for seed starting. Five Little Homesteaders has a couple of mixes, one which is soilless and is similar to mine, and the other which has compost in it, if that’s your preference.